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Dejan Kovacevic's Blog

Pittsburgh sports talk with the Trib columnist

Wakeup Call: No mention here of Bautista

Some sporting thoughts before sunrise …

>> I am told that the best hitter in baseball plays for the Blue Jays, the Pirates’ opponent tonight in Toronto. But I am guessing you already knew that, so we can move on, right?

>> Alex Presley is up, and it’s almost certain that he’s going to get thrust right into things, with Jose Tabata out for a while. That’s fine. If Presley performs anywhere close to what he did in Indianapolis, an outfield with him, Andrew McCutchen and Xavier Paul still offers speed, defense and some on-base percentage.

But neither Presley nor anyone else internally compensates for the lack of power in this lineup. It might be tempting for management to try to wait out Pedro Alvarez and/or Ryan Doumit, but that’s ducking the duty. It might be too late.

Help is needed right away.

>> The Penguins’ stated claim in cutting Tyler Kennedy loose yesterday — they did not make a qualifying offer with the mandatory 10 percent raise, thus making him an unrestricted free agent — was that they feel there is a better chance of getting a deal that way.

Sorry, but that’s wishful thinking.

I’m not doubting management’s genuine wish to keep Kennedy, but they have to know that a player on the open market is going to hear all kinds of promises and be offered much more money. It’s easy for teams to play the loyalty card when players are talking only to their people. But once a team like, say, the Panthers offer more money, a spot on the first-unit power play, and a swell house on the Fort Lauderdale waterfront, hey, you’re taking your talents to South Beach.

>> I am equally unswayed by Ray Shero’s claim that the Kennedy and Jaromir Jagr situations are not related to each other.

Seriously?

Kennedy was non-qualified on the same day Shero was getting set to talk to Jagr’s agent and make what might be a take-it-or-leave-it offer, one that needs to be both respectable and yet responsible enough to keep Mike Rupp and Pascal Dupuis. (I’m still saying $2 million gets it done.) If Kennedy were qualified, that process would have been a whole lot messier.

I trust Shero that the dollars were far apart on Kennedy. I just think all this is too much of a coincidence.

>> I am more convinced today than yesterday that Jagr will return. And I was mostly convinced yesterday.

>> The NFL players union is conducting an introductory camp for its rookies this week in, of all places, Bradenton, Fla. Same place were the Pirates do the same thing for their kids year-round. Not much catches my attention anymore when I leave the NFL Network on as background music, but that did.

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